The first trailer for Ghost in the Shell arrived early Sunday, showcasing what the feature adaptation of the famed Japanese manga series will look like on screens next year.
The new film stars Scarlett Johansson as The Major, a cyber policewoman tasked with fighting cyber criminals and hackers who attempt to bring down the Hanka Robotics corporation. Only later does The Major realize everything about her reality might not be as it initially appeared.
Directed by Rupert Sanders (Snow White and the Huntsman), the stylish trailer shows off the film’s operatic violence and action scenes, as well as cast members such as Juliette Binoche, Game of Thrones actor Pilou Asbæk, and Japanese star Takeshi Kitano. Michael Pitt and The Wolverine actress Rila Fukushima are also in the cast.
Johansson’s character is Japanese in the source material, and her casting and leaked images of the actress on set was met with controversy earlier this year. Producer Steven Paul defended Johansson’s appearance in the film, explaining to BuzzFeed News, “I think everybody is going to end up being really happy with it. They’re going to be very, very happy with it when they see what we’ve actually done with it, and I don’t think anybody’s going to be disappointed.”
Speaking to THR, the original Ghost in the Shell publisher Kodansha also gave Johansson a stamp of approval. “Looking at her career so far, I think Scarlett Johansson is well cast,” Sam Yoshiba, who works as director of the international business division at Kodansha’s Tokyo headquarters, said. “She has the cyberpunk feel. And we never imagined it would be a Japanese actress in the first place.”
At an event to debut the new trailer in Toyko, Sanders was asked about the controversy during a press conference. “I think whenever you cast someone someone’s going to be critical about it. To me it was, you know, I stand by my decision — she’s the best actress of her generation and I was flattered and honored that she would be in this film,” he said (via The Verge). “So many people who were around the original anime have been vehemently in support of her because she’s incredible and there are very few like her.”
Ghost in the Shell is out in theaters on March 31, 2017. Watch the first trailer above.